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Meet Mame Khan, folk singer from Rajasthan who walked the red carpet for India at Cannes

Rajasthani singer Mame Khan made history by becoming the first folk artist to walk the red carpet for India at the 75th Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday.

Khan, dressed in traditional Rajasthani attire with an embroidered kurta and vibrant head covering, was part of the Indian delegation visiting the prestigious film festival in the south of France. The team is led by Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur.

Who is Mame Khan?

Popular for his songs Baawre’ in Luck By Chance (2009); ‘Aitbaar’ in Nobody Killed Jessica (2011) and ‘Chakora’ in Mirzya (2016), Mame Khan belongs to the famous Manganiyar Gharana of Rajasthan. His musical career started in Satto, a small village near Jaisalmer.

He is the 14th generation of this gharana, where children grow up in a musical environment, Khan told the BBC in Hindi in an earlier interview.

“By eating and drinking, we know and learn music, but that has no degree,” he said.

Khan was introduced to music by his father Rana Khan, who was also one of the popular gharana singers. Known for his energy and vocal talents, Khan inherited qualities from his father and mentor.

Jangra, the style of Manganiyar gharana, uses rare instruments like the bowed kamaicha and the khartal percussion piece. The instrument player has a unique theatrical dance posture while playing.

Initially, Mame Khan was more into rhythm and he preferred to play dholak. But it was while on a world tour in 1999 that Khan took up singing on the advice of his father, The Hindu reported.

Coke Studio

Although the Manganiyar Gharana have been singing songs for 14 generations, it was only after Mame Khan sang the song “Choudhary” with composer Amit Trivedi in “Coke Studio” that people started recognizing the musical style.

Prior to that, Khan sang in films, but audiences were unaware of the folk singer.

“I believe that just being an artist is not enough for an artist. For that, it is very important that you are also on social media,” Mame Khan told the BBC.

(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)

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